Court papers claim that tech company’s performance-review process is gamed against men
Yahoo has become a girls’ club in the Marissa Mayer era, according to a gender-discrimination lawsuit filed against the company on Monday.
In the suit, filed in federal court in Northern California, Gregory Anderson claims he boarded the company in 2010 and was eventually promoted to editorial director of Yahoo’s Autos, Homes, Shopping, Small Business and Travel verticals.
But Anderson claims he was fired after receiving approved leave to attend a journalism fellowship in 2014, based on his Quarterly Performance Review while he was away at the fellowship. The termination came, he claims in the suit, despite the fact that Yahoo employees aren’t subject to the review process while on approved leave.
The suit goes on to claim that the review process is secretive and arbitrary — and “intended to have, and did have, a disparate discriminatory impact on male employees.”
Anderson’s complaint goes on to cite a number of alleged examples of discrimination, including a subordinate of Yahoo’s then-chief marketing officer Kathy Savitt stating that she was looking for a female to fill the position of Editor in Chief of Yahoo’s auto magazine, with the company eventually hiring a female who “was less qualified than male candidates for the position.”
The suit claims that, when Savitt started at Yahoo, the top managers reporting to her in the company’s Media Org were less than 20 percent female, while three years later “those top managers were more than 80 percent female.”
The complaint also claims that a male employee in the Media Org who received the same 1.8 employee score as a female employee was terminated, while the female employee assumed his position.
A spokesperson for Yahoo countered those claims in a statement to TheWrap.
“As noted in our Diversity Report, fairness is a guiding principle of our annual review and reward process. Our performance review process was developed to allow employees at all levels of the company to receive meaningful, regular, and actionable feedback from others. We believe this process allows our team to develop and do their best work,” the statement reads. “Our performance review process also allows for high performers to engage in increasingly larger opportunities at our company, as well as for low performers to be transitioned out.”
Nonetheless, the lawsuit claims, “As the proximate result of the gender-based discrimination by Defendant Yahoo through the actions of [President and CEO Marissa] Mayer, [then-Vice-President — News Megan] Liberman and Savitt, Plaintiff has been denied employment for which he was suited and qualified.”
As a result, the suit claims, Anderson has suffered “embarrassment, shock, outrage and other severe emotional distress.”
Alleging gender-based discrimination and other counts, the suit is seeking unspecified damages.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.